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Qualified Individual with a Disability

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Qualified Individual with a Disability

According to the EEOC, "A qualified individual with a disability is a person who meets legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements of an employment position that s/he holds or seeks, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation." It is important to note that just because a person with a disability is qualified for a job, it does not mean that they will necessarily be the selected candidate.  Employers are fully entitled to select the most qualified candidate for the open position.

To determine whether a person with a disability is qualified, it is necessary to look at two portions of this definition. The first if the "legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements" portion of the definition. This portion of the law allows the employer to determine any necessary prerequisites for a job. This may include:

  • education
  • work experience
  • training
  • skills
  • licenses
  • certificates
  • other job-related requirements, such as good judgement or the ability to work with people

This portion of the definition of qualified recognizes the fact that employers are in the best position to determine the prerequisites for the positions they offer.  If a person with a disability meets the legitimate skill, experience, education, or other requirements, then it is necessary to determine if they can perform the essential functions of the position with or without a reasonable accommodation. Note that the definition of qualified focuses on essential functions of the job to determine qualified.

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